Call made for separate environmental agency in Northern Ireland

Anna Lo MLA, Alliance environment spokesperson, has called for the Environment Agency of Northern Ireland to be made independent of the DoE. She is reported to have said that the risk of infractions and the failure to protect wildlife within Strangford Lough shows an independent body is needed.

Alex Attwood, Environment Minister, said that Northern Ireland’s natural, built and archaeological heritage require the fullest protection, which need an independent environment agency, and is pleased that Alliance agree.

Ms Lo says that almost all environment agencies elsewhere are independent of government control. She said that actions of some departments who are looking after the environment have been questioned, possibly leading to Europe imposing large fines as they have failed to protect the horse mussel in Strangford Lough. She feels that there is a need for an independent organisation.

Mr Attwood is reported to have said that the comments of the Alliance Party are welcomed. He reiterated that h has supported the need of an independent environment agency. He feels that the heritage needs full protection and positive development, which would be better served by an independent environment agency which has the greatest independence of regulation.